Scouting for Equal Rights

It is a relief to see that citizens of Orange County, arguably one of the most conservative regions in California, find contention with the Boy Scouts of America’s renewed discrimination of homosexuals. As outlined in The Orange County Register, the Boy Scouts of America engaged in an undisclosed two-year assessment of their policy banning gays and emerged from the review reaffirming their decision.

The logic behind this decision, as evidenced in Fermin Leal’s article, remains a mystery. Former Boy Scout Andrew Croy’s belief that allowing gay people to join the Scouts would “destroy Boy Scout organization” is unsupported, aside from his claim that “the vast majority [of Boy Scouts] believe that homosexuality is morally wrong.”

One can assume that Croy fears that the century-old establishment of the BSA would crumble when its members, who are educated on values such as character building and participating actively as a citizen – or becoming evolved, informed, and promoting cooperation and unification, in other words – spend time in close contact with those who differ from themselves.

Does this not sound like hypocrisy to anyone involved in this two-year assessment over discrimination?  Does Croy believe that homosexuality is contagious, and that its moral wrongness would pervade the entire institution of the BSA, thus rendering it unfit to carry out the moral and ethical duties that they pride themselves on?

But supposed potential contagion aside, the fact that the BSA would consider the inclusion of gay members detrimental to the organization is primitive and not at all indicative of the progressive nature that the United States so proudly claims and the BSA supposedly embodies. Boy Scouts of America?

Not so much. More like a select, traditional, homophobic privileged sector of America.

With all of the firm cases of organizational homophobia out there (I’m looking at you, Chick-fil-A), this is one of the saddest because it pertains particularly to young people.

Usually, my despair and disgust at blatant or passive-aggressive displays of prejudice are soothed by the fact that coming generations know better, are more open-minded, and are less inclined to hide behind a system that is convenient.

I like to believe that those who use tradition as an excuse to keep primitive practices in place will soon no longer be in a position of authority to make room for the new way to go about things, the new, accepting, informed way. It’s time to stop using tradition as an excuse to refuse to embrace truths and problems that have always been around.

Change, ultimately, is good. Young people have to learn this, and have to be able to exercise this, in order for the future to be prosperous and harmonious. They need to be aware of these things in order to make a difference in the world.

It is difficult to say what the immediate solution to the BSA problem is. My first reaction would be to say, don’t send your children to the BSA. Of course, there are parents who support their policies and would rather have their children be a part of a world that keeps out gays. But is that an accurate representation of the world?

No, it’s a lie, and it’s in the past. Or it should be. The days of deciding who is and isn’t fit to be a member of society should be long gone.

Instead, some, like rights of LGBTQ people, are still up for debate, while other problems featuring race, sex, class, age, and religion, are eliminated in law but greatly prominent to those who know what to look for, and who take a moment to expand the world beyond all they have ever known – and don’t use the fact that they have known nothing else as an excuse to not try to. Boy Scouts of America?

It’s time for this country to have its name represented in more representative organizations.


Karam Johal is a third-year Women’s Studies major. She can be reached at